Do Mother’s Require More Calories During Breastfeeding?

Yes, mother’s specifically require more calories to meet their nutritional needs during breastfeeding.  According to the CDC(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)-”An additional 450-500 KCalories of healthy food calories per day is recommended for well-nourished breastfeeding mothers, compared with the amount they were consuming before pregnancy-(approximately 2300-2500 Kcalories/day for breastfeeding women versus 1800-2000 KCalories/day for active, non-pregnant women who are not breastfeeding).”

Other factors affect the need for additional calories for a breastfeeding woman, such as her age, her activity levels, her BMI(Body Mass Index), and if she remains exclusively breastfeeding vs. breastfeeding and supplementing with formula. The recommendations for breastfeeding a newborn are feeding 8-12 times a day. Mom’s need extra calories since producing breast milk requires more energy.  There are even some Mom’s that require an even higher amount of calories than 2500 KCal/day, and have specific dietary or medical needs, such as Diabetic Mom’s, teen age Mom’s, aged 13-19 years old; are on a Vegan/Vegetarian Diet, are breastfeeding multiples or more than one child, or are pregnant and breastfeeding. It is essential to speak to one’s Physician, Registered Dietitian or Nutritional Counselor to formulate a healthy diet plan that provides the calories and is nutritionally balanced to promote Mom’s health and baby’s health. 

During breastfeeding is not the time to “diet and cut-calories to lose weight!”  Most Mom’s want to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight as soon as possible, but it’s medically significant to NOT cut the amount of calories consumed each day to lose pregnancy weight, unless medically instructed to do so by your Physician for health reasons,  Dieting and cutting calories can be hazardous to a breastfeeding Mom’s health and can negatively impact her milk supply. It’s a much better idea to plan to gradually lose the weight and will make Mom feel a sense of success by setting realistic weight loss goals.  Eating a healthy diet and formulating an active, obtainable daily routine will help a breastfeeding Mom to lose the weight she desires and safely get in shape. 

As with any exercise plan, consult with your Doctor before starting.


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